Global forest governance: less a failure than often thought

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Abstract

Global forest governance: less a failure than an often thought. Arts, B. (Wageningen University, the Netherlands, Bas.Arts@wur.nl). International forest policy is often depicted as a failure. There exists only soft law, and the instruments that do exist are hardly implemented at national levels. In other words, one should conclude that international forest policy is characterized by “governance failure.” These negative accounts mostly reason from legal, institutional, or rational policy models, because international forest law is considered ‘soft’ (see the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests), international forest institutions are considered ‘weak’ (see the UNFF), and the international forest policy cycle is not closed (implementation deficit). In this presentation, another policy perspective will be presented: discursive institutionalism. This is a new branch on the tree of neoinstitutionalism and analyzes how new ideas, concepts, and narratives invoke institutional change and innovation. This approach delivers another, less pessimistic evaluation of international forest policy. It shows that new discourses such as sustainability, biodiversity, and governance have become dominant and institutionalized in the forest policy domain over the past 3 decades. This has led to behavioral change among a broad range of stakeholders and, locally, to positive impacts in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-128
JournalInternational Forestry Review
Volume12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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